The taco is having a moment. The hipster ideal of finding food that is cheap, tasty and requires an “in the know” has spread from Austin, through Brooklyn and beyond.
The trend comes from both the popularity of street food and a growing population of foodies interested in a more cosmopolitan palate. And that means a departure from restaurants with a Cinco de Mayo theme and overpriced margaritas, moving instead toward modern places like ABC Cocina, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s spot near Union Square, and Salvation Taco, April Bloomfield’s taqueria in Murray Hill.
“People come to a Mexican restaurant now looking for more ethnic street food,” says Fernando Paterra of Guapo Cocina in Yonkers, which features a daily “Taco Guapo” special, filled with market-inspired ingredients like goat, cow tongue, short ribs or braised pork belly.
The Taco Guapo sells for $3 each, or three for $8.
“It’s a trendier crowd, and they’re more open to different ethnicities, different styles of cuisines,” says Paterra.
Welcome, gourmet taco, both delicious and reasonably priced. But the best news about the growing taco trend is that you don’t have to be in New York City to partake (we’re looking at you, Cronut).
Consider yourself in the know. Here are a few of our favorite places in the Lower Hudson Valley to get a great taco.
bartaco, Port Chester
An outdoor deck with a posh take on a nautical theme, jazzy lighting and rhythmic indie beats immediately transport you to vacation mode, somewhere chic and free-spirited like Santorini, the coast of Brazil or Ibiza. An open air kitchen serves up margaritas and Mexican dishes made for sharing.
What to order: The baja fish taco is crunchy with a light mayo on the accompanying slaw. The portobello taco with queso fresco and smoky poblanos is a nice vegetarian option.
Go: 1 Willett Ave., Port Chester, 914-937-TACO (8226), www.bartaco. com. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to close daily.
Guapo Cocina Mexicana, Yonkers
A stylish Mexican restaurant with terra cotta floors, exposed brick walls and an authentic and extensive menu. They boast a two-for-one drink happy hour where you can order crowd-friendly small plates and sip summer sangria, margaritas, Mexican beers or wines from Mexico, South America and Spain.
What to order: Choose from 10 different taco fillings such as al pastor: spiced slow roasted pork and sweet pineapple on a fresh soft taco.
Go: 10 Warburton Ave., Yonkers, 914-920-5900, www.guaporestaurant.com. Hours: noon-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; noon-midnight Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday. Happy hour 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.
Harry’s Burritos, Nyack
Mid-century modern kitsch (great lamps and artwork, especially!) make for a welcoming and casual atmosphere, and the diverse menu (tacos, burritos, brunch) is made without preservatives, lard or MSG. It’s family-friendly, too: there are kids movie nights with $3 tacos.
What to order: Fish tacos served in a choice of soft corn, soft flour or hard corn shell. Tilapia is sautéed with sun dried tomatoes and roasted garlic, then topped with housemade creamy guacamole.
Go: 90 Main St., Nyack, 845-353-5520, www.harrysburritos.com. Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Additional locations: 94 Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont; 93 Avenue A, Manhattan; 241 Columbus Ave., Manhattan.
Pink Panther Hot Dog Wagon and Mexican Food, Hastings-on-Hudson
Magdalena Toledo has owned and cooked in this pink food truck for 25 years, serving all-beef hot dogs, chili, rice and beans and homemade soup. But the real star of the show is the tacos, specifically pork. People from all walks of life line up for them daily.
What to order: The pork tacos have a cult following for a reason, and usually sell out quickly. Available in mild, medium or spicy.
Go: Parked south of Jackson Avenue on Saw Mill River Road Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Roasted Peppers, Mamaroneck
A Mexican-American fusion cafe from the former cooking team behind Sam’s of Gedney Way. Their dishes carefully blend south-of-the-border comfort food with American bistro classics.
What to order: Red snapper tacos. Fish is marinated in a lime-chili mixture and grilled, then drizzled with a creamy jalapeno sauce.
Go: 320 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck, 914-341-1140, www.roasted peppersmamaroneck. com. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 3-9 p.m. Sunday. Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Monday.
Southwestern food cooked fresh with ingredients from local farms, like Cabbage Hill in Mount Kisco and Fort Hill in New Milford, Conn. The atmosphere is farm-chic, with reclaimed barnwood, grass-fed beef and wine on tap.
What to order: Chicken Tinga Tacos: Chicken is slow cooked in a tomato and chipotle sauce, then topped with organic romaine and pico de gallo.
Go: 391 Old Post Road, Bedford, 914-234-8900, www.truckrestaurant. com. Lunch: 11:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Dinner: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Open 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.